Thank you, NetGalley, Hachette Kids and Quercus Children's Books for the chance to read Meat Market by Juno Dawson on ebook for free in exchange for an honest review
Publication Date: 23rd May 2019
This is the first book solely by Juno Dawson I have reviewed on Readers Enjoy Authors’ Dreams but it isn’t the first of her work I have read. I really wanted to read Meat Market after reading Clean, I loved how Clean wasn’t afraid to pull punches and shows the reader the true horrors of addiction. I've tried to keep this a spoiler free as I can but have still left the spoiler warning.
Meat Market definitely sits in the darker side of YA fiction. Jana has just started sixth form college with her gang of friends and boyfriend and is known as the tall one. Jana is "spotted" by a modelling agency when she is on a school trip to Thorpe Park. Jana’s naturally tall and slim, androgynous look attracts name-calling at school but is exactly what the agency is looking for. Surprised and suspicious at first, she's soon pulled into the fast-paced world of high fashion, hurled into a world of castings, catwalks and parties. Nothing had been further from her mind - until the prospect of earning a bit of money and experiencing a different world beckons.
At first, she's excited but soon Jana misses her family, her friends who seem to be getting on with their lives without her and whenever she manages to catch up with her boyfriend, she's too exhausted and all she wants to do is sleep. Modelling isn’t quite as glamorous as it may seem on the surface and Jana soon finds herself somewhat out of her depth and pulled to the dark side of the industry and finds herself alone and unprotected. The industry is as grimy as it is glamorous and there are unexpected predators at every turn. When Jana tries to expose it, she realises that everyone seems to be in on what's happening and covering it up.
The dark side of becoming a model is well portrayed it's raw and a compelling read and it explains how seductive and completely ruthless the industry can be. A hard-hitting book about the fashion industry with messages about its unrealistic expectations and its influence over those working within the industry and young girls who try to emulate their idols. I wasn’t particularly interested in the fashion stuff but really enjoyed reading Jana’s story even the awful bits. Despite not being interested in the fashion this book absolutely gripped me the way the world of fashion and supermodels is always portrayed as a glamorous and the way young girls are inspired to be a part of it but scratch the surface and you'll find the dirt just waiting to spill out.
Juno has a way of cutting straight to the heart of things and I love it and the way she creates compelling characters is amazing. Juno effortlessly moves us into the mind of Jana, and we experience her exhaustion and shock. The story is raw, it's honest and it's a little bit heart-breaking and I can't recommend it enough.